Typical assamese dishes
The khar is a signature class of preparations made with a key ingredient, also called khar. The traditional ingredient is made by filtering water through the ashes of a banana tree, which is then called kola khar . A traditional meal invariably begins with a khar dish, made of raw papaya, pulses or any other main ingredient. Xôkôta: It is a severely bitter type of preparation. It is prepared with dry jute leaf, urad bean and khar.
The tenga is a light and sour fish dish, another signature class of preparations. The souring ingredient could be mangosteen, lemon, etc., but the most popular is that made with tomatoes. Fish dishes made with fermented bamboo shoot are generally sour, but they are not called tengas. Fish is fried in mustard oil or curried with bottle gourd or spinach. Another tenga dish is prepared with matimah urad bean and outenga elephant apple. Bottle gourd also can be added to it. Tengamora or noltenga and lentil is also a distinct tenga curry.
Side dishes called pitika - is a signature characteristic of this cuisine. The most popular is aloo pitika mashed potatoes garnished with raw onions, mustard oil, green chillies and sometimes boiled eggs. Khorisa tenga is mashed fermented bamboo shoot, sometimes pickled in mustard oil and spices. Kharoli is fermented mashed mustard Brassica campestris var. toria seed to which a khar has been added, and kahudi to which an acidic agent lemon juice, dried mangosteen has been added. Pitikas are also made from roasted or steamed vegetables tomatoes and eggplants being very popular. Small fishes, asiatic pennywort, matikaduri, tengamora leaves, heartleaf, dôrôn Leucus longifolia, etc. roasted separately wrapped in banana leaves and mashed into pitika along with mustard oil, salt, chilli etc. are called patotdia literally, 'in a leaf'.
Is a variety of glutinous rice found in assam. it has an important role in assamese traditional occasions like bihu. it is used in jolpan snacks and pitha ricecake or pancake. soaked and ground bora saul is used in preparing pitha. boiled bora saul is served as jolpan with curd or milk, jaggery or sugar.
flattened rice, also called beaten rice is a dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. these flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. it can be eaten raw by immersing it in plain water or milk or curd, with salt or sugar or jaggery to taste, or lightly fried in oil.
Is a ricecake or pancake, a thin-flat cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. it is an inseparable part of jolpan in assam. it is a special class of rice preparation generally made only on special occasions like bihu in assam. made usually with soaked and ground rice, they could be fried in oil, roasted over a slow fire or baked and rolled over a hot plate.
Is a type of pancake. it is a special class of rice preparation and generally made only on special occasions like bihu in assam. bora saul, a glutinous type of rice is soaked and ground. then a certain quantity of this rice flour is baked, filled up with sesame seeds, ground coconut and dried rind of orange, jaggery etc. and pressed and rolled with many folders. this rice cake is also called hesa pitha since it is pressed after rolling it as folder by folder.
Is a type of pancake so called because of its knee cap sized shape. knee cap is called ghila in assamese. rice flour of bora saul, one kind of glutinous rice or any common rice is used in it. a paste made of rice flour and jaggery is prepared first and then fried in cooking oil at a certain quantity. salt is also used instead of jaggery to make salty ghila pitha. it is generally prepared and served in bihu in assam.
Major cities like Guwahati, Tezpur, Jorhat and Dibrugarh offer a wide variety of restaurants and eat outs. Restaurants are normally very cheap and a good meal will cost about $0.50 to $1 per person. There are also ambient restaurants which serve all varieties of Indian and Assamese dishes for about less than $5 - $8 per person.
The next most important ingredient is the fish, harvested from the many rivers, ponds and lakes in the region. There is no traditional ethnic community in Assam that does not eat fish.Some of the most popular big fishes are the Rohu, the Hilsa and the chital big, khoria medium Chitala chitala, Maagur, Xingi, Borali, Bhokua, Xaal, Xol, etc. The small varieties of fish available and eaten in Assam like Puthi, Borolia, Mua, cheniputhi, tengera, lachin, bhagun, pabho, etc. is very large.
Is a special fish dish prepared from dried small fish puthi maas pounded with arum stem and dried and stored in bamboo tubes. variations of this exist among the ethnic communities of northeast india in general and assam in particular, are dried and fermented small fish puthy mas ticto barb, three to four in numbers are roasted along with lavish amounts of green chillies, tomatoes, ginger and garlic all roasted. the ingredients are then pounded in a mortar to make a coarse paste and served with rice.
The Assamese meat and fish dish is characterized by low amount of spices and oil, higher quantity of ginger, norosingho paat curry leaves and lemon juice. This is quite different from Bengali dishes in taste. Pork and to some extent, beef dishes are particularly favorites in the tribal areas in Assam. Beef is not taken by the majority of Assamese as they practice Hinduism; however, beef is popular among Assamese Muslims, although general people also have pork, but that is not taken by the Assamese Muslims. The basic cooking method is boiling. Onla, of the Bodos, is made with ground rice and special herbs, and constitutes a complete meal in itself. Other meats include squab, duck, chicken, mutton, venison, and turtle although venison and turtle meat are legally prohibited. The combination of duck – white gourd and squab – papaya or banana flower is very popular. Meat is curried in spicy gravy.
Rice is the most important ingredient in this cuisine. The large varieties of rice found in the region has led to speculation that the grain was first domesticated in the Assam- Yunnan region. Both the indica as well as the japonica varieties are grown in Assam. The most popular class of rice is the joha or scented rice. As a staple diet rice is eaten either steam boiled ukhua or sundried aaroi. Some very fine quality of rice namely, Karaballam or kauribadam etc. are available in Assam only. Rice is eaten as snack in many different forms: roasted and ground xandoh, boiled in its husk and flattened chira, puffed akhoi. There also grows a variety of rice that can be just soaked and eaten kumol saul.